Boeing: “Our respective successes are based on our strong partnership”
Rob Thayer, Propulsion Systems Director of Manufacturing and Quality at Boeing, and Rich Dickson, Quality Assurance Manager at Boeing, visited our Villaroche, Gennevilliers and Evry-Corbeil plants in May. These two managers were pleased with the excellent partnership between CFM* and Boeing, noting in particular the “total engagement and enthusiasm” of the people they met.
What most struck you during your visit to our production facilities?
Rob Thayer: We noted the total engagement and enthusiasm of everybody we met, as well as the excellent collaboration at all levels, from operators to managers to production line workers to support functions. This type of collaboration, due to better communications within departments and standardized procedures, also fosters a real improvement in production processes. And that in turn gives us the quality we need for our products. By resolving quality issues today, we avoid them tomorrow!
How do you see the transition between the CFM56 and LEAP engines?
Rich Dickson: We still need the CFM56 for many years to come, while the LEAP represents the future. We’re very interested in both these engines. The current period harbors a number of challenges: it’s a bit like living in a house being totally renovated! Under these circumstances, it’s essential to note that improvement plans are bearing fruit, and that we’re all totally committed to excellence. This constant focus on excellence also gives us confidence that CFM can handle the ramp-up in LEAP production to meet our needs.
How do you see the relationship between Boeing and CFM within the context of the ramp-up?
We have a great partnership with CFM and we do everything in our power to keep it that way. During the ramp-up we’re going to have to count on each other more than ever. Our respective successes are based on this strong partnership. If one of the partners slips or falls, everybody falls, and by everybody I mean not just Boeing and Safran, but also the airlines who are our customers!
What are the main challenges facing Boeing from now to the service entry of the 737 MAX?
RT: In the medium term, the biggest challenge is of course the production ramp-up. Rates will increase twice as fast as for any previous Boeing program. In fact, it’s all your “fault”. You designed an outstanding engine and we’re counting on it. Your product is “right at the first flight”! Your performance has helped fuel our success. The time we save in our shops and on our assembly lines is one factor that enables us to offer our products at market prices.
*CFM is a 50/50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines